Taliban commander Qari Hussain released a 40-minute propaganda tape showing statements of suicide bombers and the aftermath of their attacks inside Pakistan. The videotape was distributed by Taliban commander Qari Hussain during a press conference held in the provincial capital of Peshawar.
The press conference demonstrates that the Taliban feel they are not under a serious threat in the capital of the Northwest Frontier Province. The military has launched three operations to relieve the Taliban pressure on Peshawar, but the Taliban continue to encroach on the city.
The tape “shows men and youths, some apparently in their teens, addressing the camera about their intention to carry out suicide attacks to background music of Urdu-language militant anthems,” AFP reported.
The suicide bombers took credit for attacks against Pakistani security and intelligence forces, including the March 2008 double suicide attack on the headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore (26 killed and more than 160 wounded) and the September 2007 attack on an Inter-Service Intelligence agency bus and a military bazaar in Rawalpindi (25 killed, 68 wounded).
The suicide bombers all spoke Pashto, indicating they were from Pakistan’s Pashtun-dominated northwest, and said carrying out the attacks is their religious duty.
“I’m going to do this suicide bombing with Islamic sentiments,” a teenage suicide bomber named Masood who was involved with the Lahore attack said. “Suicide bombers are the atomic weapons of Muslims because Muslims do not have the latest weapons to fight enemies who are committing atrocities against Muslims in Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Hussain encouraged Muslims to join the Taliban to wage jihad against the United States, Israel, and Pakistan. “Israel, America and Pakistan’s military are committing atrocities against Muslims so jihad has become compulsory for all Muslims,” Hussain said on the tape.
Hussain, who is based out of South Waziristan, is a senior deputy to Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud and an ally of al Qaeda in Pakistan. He runs camps in South Waziristan that train children to become suicide bombers. Children as young as seven years old are indoctrinated to wage jihad in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a video taken at one of his camps in Spinkai showed.
The Pakistani military demolished Hussain’s suicide nursery during a short offensive against the Taliban in Spinkai in January 2008. The military launched a short operation after Taliban forces commanded by Baitullah overran two military outposts and conducted attacks against other forts and military convoys in the tribal agency.
The military seized numerous documents and training materials in the demolished camp. In May, a senior Pakistani general described the previous camp as a suicide “factory” for children.
The Pakistani military reported that Hussain was killed in January, based on intercepted Taliban communications. The military later reiterated that claim during the tour of the Spinkai camp on May 18, 2008.
Five days later, Hussain mocked the military during a press conference held at a government school building in South Waziristan. “I am alive, don’t you see me?” Hussain taunted.
Hussain rebuilt his child training camps in South Waziristan sometime in the spring or summer of 2008.
The Spinkai camp is one of 157 training camps and more than 400 support locations in the Taliban-controlled tribal areas and in the insurgency-infested Northwest Frontier Province. The Taliban control all seven tribal agencies and several settled districts in the province. The Taliban and al Qaeda conducted 61 suicide attacks in Pakistan in 2008, resulting in 889 civilians and security officers killed and 2,072 more wounded.
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